Victor & Victoria

Isaiah 2:2
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be [firmly] established as the highest of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow to it.

The Rainbow Mountains, set in an obscure little town in Fallbrook California, attract people from around the world because of their splendor!  These are the mountains where the inmate population of Rainbow Conservation Camp hike to stay fit and practice for fighting fires. Many nations are represented in the female residents there.  This is true of our volunteer staff as well. Some have visited from Africa, and a pastor couple from the Ukraine named Victor and Victoria!  Victor is a very active leader in his community. He was born into a communist, atheist community and his mother prayed for him everyday. He began to have a desire to read the New Testament in the Bible. He read it and was filled with faith and began to believe in Jesus. My friend emailed me about hosting them for a couple of days in my home and I jumped on the opportunity!  An empty nester myself, it was a thrill to hear the stories from this energetic couple and to invite them to come to Rainbow with us and meet the inmates.

Then I heard a quiet voice whisper, “You’re going to get hit between the eyes with this one.” I had invited them already so I wondered what exactly would be hitting me between the eyes!

One of the ways we worship with the women at Rainbow is with colorful banners, hand painted from Toowoomba Australia.  When a woman is singing and holding a banner, her head is lifted up and she is taking ahold of something. In this case, pictures painted on the flags that represent hopeful prospects for their future involving a loving powerful God. Within minutes of meeting this young couple from across the Ukraine, I felt a zeal in them that I had lost. Their candor, honesty, and dedication to others in need was stunning. Victor sat down with me at the kitchen table viewing my picture books from a recent trip to Cali Colombia where I took my banners and shared them with churches doing outreaches in communities where violence and death were a regular part of life.  As he viewed all these flags the people were holding, I made a little apology thinking it might appear odd to him (as it has to some!) Yet he snapped back without hesitation, “No!  This is very powerful!”  First hit between the eyes. “I do not need to be ashamed, or explain things that I do that have meaning even if most do not understand.” Without realizing it, he had affirmed my heart for celebration and without even knowing me, he recognized the impact behind what we were sharing with other nations.

Having someone stay in your home from a very poor town will make you realize anew, just how fortunate we are in America.  We’d had a conversation that morning about the Iron Curtain coming down, the influx of materialism, and the waning interest in the gospel in the US because of distractions holding people back from a spiritual focus. Suddenly a team of cleaning angels began bustling around my house, my housekeepers who help me out twice a month. I suddenly realized just how big my house was and felt the privilege of my life here.

Rainbow Camp is a prison. It is an institution where people lose their freedom. But they have freedom to lose unlike other people who live in parts of the world where freedom is not enjoyed as a citizen’s right or daily commodity. I was eager to bring this vibrant Ukrainian couple with us to Rainbow. We arrived, and welcomed the women as they entered the training room where our meetings are held.  Volunteers from around the country and throughout the world come up with us to share their lives with the women who have lost for a time the privilege of living with their families.

Victor told me the story of his Mother’s conversion  “My mother found Jesus in a very dark, very isolated time in our history. He just revealed Himself to her.  In my country the churches are dark… grey … dead.  She began to pray for me when I was 17.  She didn’t invite me to church.  She didn’t talk to me.  She just prayed.  Suddenly, I had a burning desire to read the New Testament.  I began to laugh until my cheeks were hurting.  Where is this joy coming from?!  All my Mom did was pray for me and God came to me and revealed Himself to my heart.”

The love of our team, the warmth of the worship, the fire of our prayers, is the hallmark of Rainbow.  Any person, from any country, color, culture, creed, can find God’s love there with their color skin on.

Imagine the day, in Isaiah 2:2 when all nations “shall flow into the mountain of the Lord.”  Muslim nations, Buddhist nations, Hindu nations.  All one through faith in God, all accepted into the beloved.  This is the hallmark of the “Bow” on Rainbow mountain.  God’s family.  Our real home.  My hope for God’s promise burns brighter after meeting Victor and Victoria!

Isaiah 54:3
For you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

 

Rainbow Prison Ministries

 

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